The mother of all sports tours: Calday Grange Grammar School hit up Vancouver & Seattle

Last updated: Sep 6th, 2019

July brought an exciting new adventure for Calday Grange Grammar School from Wirral, as 46 sport-hungry students embarked on an epic 12-day U18s boys’ football and rugby tour to Vancouver and Seattle.

Having recently organised a rugby tour to South Africa, party leader and Head of Rugby, Rhys Hayes, fancied something different. Tempted by Canada and the USA back in 2017, years of planning went into their tour to Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle with the help of Julie – Ski & Sports Tours Operations Manager – who worked with Rhys to pack their itinerary with competitive fixtures, live sport and heaps of once-in-a-lifetime activities!

  • 1 school
  • 2 teams
  • 46 students
  • 2 countries (with 3 destinations)
  • 6 competitive fixtures
  • 9 awesome excursions
Kick-off: Vancouver

Flying from Manchester, they arrived in Vancouver where their coach took them to their hotel, giving them chance to relax after a long journey. Opting for a bed and breakfast basis, this gave the group the freedom to eat out at nearby restaurants and try the local cuisine. And they did exactly that, taking to Granville Street, Vancouver’s main downtown district, to refuel.

Feeling much more rested, Calday Grange kicked off their tour by exploring the great outdoors. First stop: the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. They braved the scenic (albeit dizzying) walk along the 137m-long bridge, where they were rewarded with beautiful views of the Capilano River below, before spending the rest of their day at Grouse Mountain. More heights awaited as they ascended to the summit for rural scenes and adventurous activities galore!

Day 3 and Whistler Village was next on the cards, where the group was guided around the village by two players from Axemen Rugby Club. After taking in the beautiful lakes surrounding the village, it was time to kick things up a notch and go white water rafting! With this scenery, there’s no better place for it.

The next day began with a trip to Stanley Park, where the group had their choice of beaches, biking and seeking out Brockton Point Totem Poles (always a must). They then headed to Granville Island to peruse the market, followed by Gastown for its whistling Steam Clock. Come evening, it was time to gear up for a touch rugby training session and potential fixture at United Rugby Club.


Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Bridge


Half time: Victoria

Day 5 and the ferry to Swartz Bay in Victoria awaited. Whilst it was a long morning of travel, Calday Grange chilled out in the afternoon before their first football fixture of the tour against United Soccer Solution.

An exciting morning lay ahead with a 3-hour whale watching tour! With any tour, it’s always great for groups to see local wildlife in their natural habitats and learn about these incredible creatures. Back on land for some sightseeing in Victoria, it was time for the rugby team to channel their competitive spirit in their fixture against Cowichan Rugby Club.

Half way into their tour, the fixtures and training were in full swing. Today brought a morning of karting, golf and batting cages, before the football team went head-to-head against United Soccer Solutions, and the rugby team headed to Westshore RFC Turf for a training session – all topped off with a BBQ by their hosts!


Whale Watching Tour

Whale watching


Extra time: Seattle

Farewell Canada and hello USA! The ferry took the group to Seattle, where their second football fixture against Seattle United Boys 2003 Copa (and post-match pizzas) kept the action going.

Day 9 gave the group chance to settle into Seattle, exploring the sights of Downtown Seattle and ascending the Sky View Observatory (always a good selfie opportunity). Come midday, it was time for warm ups and the football fixture against Seattle United Boys 2001 Copa, before unwinding with a live baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers.

Amongst all the sport played, live sport is a great chance for groups to simply sit down to a game, cheer on with the locals and soak up the high-energy stadium atmosphere.

Alas, the final full day of the tour had arrived, but Calday Grange was fired up for a morning football fixture against Seattle United Boys 2002 Tango. Next was a stadium tour of Century Link Field and the chance to squeeze in some more sightseeing in Seattle, before the rugby team gave it their all in their final fixture against Budd Bay RFC.

Bidding North America goodbye, Calday Grange boarded the coach and headed to Vancouver Airport for their flight back to Manchester.


Centurylink Field

Century Link Field


The verdict

Tour highlights:

  • Grouse Mountain
  • White water rafting
  • Whale watching
  • Live baseball game
“Overall, the tour was a massive success. The excursions were fantastic and the boys will treasure the memories for life.”

Rhys Hayes, Party Leader & Head of Rugby, Calday Grange Grammar School


Discover Vancouver & Seattle